This list of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur should be included in any traveller’s itinerary. It comprises the city’s most iconic landmarks, both natural and manmade, and showcases the best this city has to offer. The Malaysian capital is known for its multicultural community, which mainly consists of Malay, Indian, and Chinese residents. As a result, you’ll find vibrant events and festivities celebrated throughout the year, while local markets and religious sites offer a glimpse into the local culture and lifestyle.

    When visiting a destination, some things you can do without, while others are considered the essence of a place. So we decided to compile a comprehensive guide of Kuala Lumpur’s best attractions – making the cut are world-famous landmarks, culturally enriching streets markets, and botanical gardens.

    What are the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur? 

    1

    Petronas Twin Towers

    KLCC

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    The Petronas Twin Towers are among the most prominent landmarks in Kuala Lumpur. The 88-storey chrome and steel towers are joined at the 41st and 42nd floors (175 metres above street level) by the 58-metre-long and double-decker Skybridge.

    Hailed as the Twin Jewels of Kuala Lumpur, a visit to the Malaysian capital isn't complete unless you have visited these skyscrapers. 

    Location: Petronas Twin Tower, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 9 am to 9 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +60 (0)3-2331 8080

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    2

    Menara Kuala Lumpur

    Jalan P Ramlee

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    Menara Kuala Lumpur (KL Tower) soars above KL Eco City Park at 421 metres. Aside from being one of the tallest freestanding towers in the world, it's also an important architectural marker in the city.

    Boasting spectacular views of Kuala Lumpur, the viewing deck is at least 100 metres higher than the Petronas Tower’s Skybridge.

    Location: No. 2 Jalan Punchak Off, Jalan P. Ramlee, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Open: Monday and Wednesday–Friday from 11 am to 7 pm, Tuesday and Saturday–Sunday from 10 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +60 (0)3-2020 5444

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    3

    Chinatown

    Jalan Petaling

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    Chinatown is a vibrant neighbourhood in Kuala Lumpur that's deeply immersed in oriental cultures, heritage and history, It is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist spots in Malaysia, and holds its own against its more glamorous neighbours, KLCC and Bukit Bintang. 

    Representing Malaysia’s multi-hued multicultural background perfectly, you can find all sorts of stuff in Chinatown. Chinese herbs, souvenirs, clothes and street food are just some of the best things to get here. 

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    photo by Shesmax (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    4

    Batu Caves

    Gombak

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    Batu Caves is a 400 million-year-old limestone hill with a 100-year-old temple incorporated within it. It's best known as the focal point of the annual Hindu festival of Thaipusam. The celebration attracts thousands of visitors who come to see the colourful spectacle of devotees who pay homage by carrying ornately-decorated kavadis (frameworks) combined with various metal hooks and skewers, which are used to pierce the skin, cheeks and tongue.

    Batu Caves is in Gombak, around 13 km north of Kuala Lumpur. You can take the Intrakota bus No 11D from the Central Market or the Cityliner bus No 69 at Jalan Pudu to get to the caves. Taxis are available anywhere around the city.

    Location: Gombak, 68100 Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia

    Open: Daily from 6 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +60 (0)3-6189 6284

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    5

    Sultan Abdul Samad Building

    Merdeka Square

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    The Sultan Abdul Samad Building is a distinguished city landmark that originally served as the secretariat for the colonial British administration. This Moorish-style building was designed by AC Norman and completed in 1897. 

    It's home to the offices of the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture of Malaysia, and frequently the backdrop for Independence Day parades. The Sultan Abdul Samad Building is set to the east of Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka), around a 10-minute walk from the Masjid Jamek LRT Station. You won't miss it because there are plenty of signs to guide you.

    Location: Jln Raja, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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    6

    Sunway Lagoon

    Petaling Jaya

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    Sunway Lagoon is a fun theme park in Petaling Jaya, around 19 km southwest of central Kuala Lumpur. You can expect an extensive list of fun attractions at the 323,749-square-metre complex, such as waterslides that whirl and twirl, a manmade 'river' ride, surf beach, wave pool, and revolving pirate ship.

    Sunway Lagoon encompasses different zones – Water Park, Scream Park, Amusement Park, and Extreme Park. It's attached to several hotels and Sunway Pyramid, an Egyptian-themed shopping mall.

    Location: Jalan PJS 11/11, Bandar Sunway, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

    Open: Wednesday–Monday from 10 am to 6 pm (closed on Tuesdays)

    Phone: +60 (0)3-5639 0000

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    7

    Jalan Alor

    Bukit Bintang

    Jalan Alor is basically a strip of atmospheric, air-conditioned Chinese seafood restaurants in Bukit Bintang. Both sides of this 250-metre-long walkway are lined with hawker stalls with plastic tables and chairs spilling out onto the road.

    Called the cultural heart of Kuala Lumpur's local cuisine, Jalan Alor has an amazing variety of food. You can enjoy barbecued meats, noodles and desserts at rather affordable prices.

    Location: Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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    photo by IQRemix (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    8

    Central Market

    Chinatown

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    Central Market is a Kuala Lumpur cultural landmark, just a short walk away from Petaling Street. It's known as the centre of the city’s artistic community. Also called Pasar Seni, it was built in 1928 and used to be a simple wet market, until the early 1980s when it was revamped into a handicrafts outlet. 

    The merchandise at Central Market is cheap and comprises traditional goods such as batik, embroidery carvings, souvenirs, and sculptures.

    Location: Lot 3.04-3.06, 06, Jalan Hang Kasturi, City Centre, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +60 (0)3-2031 0399

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    9

    Perdana Botanical Garden

    Heritage Park Kuala Lumpur

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    The Perdana Botanical Garden boasts the largest collection of flower gardens in Kuala Lumpur city centre. One of its standout features is the Orchid Garden, which has walking paths and manmade fountains, as well as a semi-circle pergola and rock garden with 800 species of orchids. 

    Another must-visit is the Hibiscus Garden, where you can find Malaysia’s national flower in full bloom and a colonial-era building. Inside, you can find a quaint tearoom and a gallery showcasing the history and significance of the hibiscus flower in Malaysian history.

    Location: Jalan Kebun Bunga, Tasik Perdana, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +60 (0)3-2276 0432

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    Penny Wong | Compulsive Traveller

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